Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Dem's Fightin' Woids
2005-12-16 10:02
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Nothing stirs up a good debate like discussing who belongs in the Hall of Fame. I've got a column over at about some of the best players not enshrined up in Cooperstown. Would you believe I had the nerve to go with Mex Hernandez over our own Donnie Baseball? Well, head on over and give it a look. Then come back and let the arguments begin!

2005-12-16 10:23:52
1.   Shawn Clap
That's a great column! And well thought-out & researched. Good work!

But if you wanna fight:
Luis Tiant and Bert Blyleven over JACK MORRIS? Gimme a break.

Morris single-handedly defined what a "Big Game Pitcher" was to an entire generation of baseball fans. And he was an absolute stud in the '84 Tigers 3-Man rotation.

And left off the list was KIRK GIBSON, not even an honarable mention. For shame!

2005-12-16 10:29:52
2.   Fred Vincy
Great piece, but what about Nettles???
2005-12-16 10:31:13
3.   tocho
Geat article (and great picture). I think you're missing Mexico's own Fernando "El Toro" Valenzuela. I've never seen a phenom like him in my life, he literally froze every batter with his screwball. If he had pitched in these days (with pitch count control) he would have lasted much more with that pitch. Lasorda just refused to take him out of any game. Our Toro pitched too many CG's
2005-12-16 10:35:47
4.   Alex Belth
Nettles was really good but I wouldn't put him in over Darrell Evans.
2005-12-16 10:40:15
5.   Alex Belth
Tough to tell based on their post season careers (small sample size). Regular season numbers favor Blyeleven and Tiant:

Bert Blyeleven: 4-1 in 8 games. 2.59 ERA in 47.3 innings.

Luis Tiant: 1-2 in 5 games. 2.86 in 34.7 innings.

Jack Morris: 6-1 in 13 games. 3.80 in 92.3.

2005-12-16 10:45:23
6.   NetShrine
Ayone who has read my book, The Baseball Same Game, would know why Mex Hernandez should get in and why Donnie should not go in. Thanks for the chance to back into a plug Alex!
2005-12-16 10:47:06
7.   Murray
But Mattingly won twice as many MVP awards as Hernandez. ;)
2005-12-16 11:06:20
8.   Shawn Clap
If this don't get you in the Hall of Fame, perhaps they ought to tear it down!

Events of Sunday, October 27, 1991 (W.S. Game 7)

ATL N 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 7 0
MIN A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 10 0

WP: Morris (2-0)
LP: Pena (0-1)

2005-12-16 11:10:54
9.   Knuckles
Great article Alex.

Funny that Torre's best ballot came the year after the Yanks won their first of four recent titles.

I know Donnie's never gonna get in, and I've come to grips with that. In 10 years, I'll sound like Costner talking to his kid in Field of Dreams. "The guy hit 53 doubles in 1986, dominated the late 80's as a run producer and in the field, and K'd an average of 43 times a year! And he's not in the Hall! WTF?!?!" Mattingly's in my family's own hall of fame, along with guys like Bavaro, Drazen Petrovic, Jim Abbott, El Duque, and Bob Sheppard.

2005-12-16 11:11:55
10.   debris

The Hall specifically prohibits selection of a player based on a sole event, such as Morris for his big game or Maris for his big season.

Mazeroski went in for his defensive skill as did Ozzie Smith. Somebody about 10 years ago calculated that Maz was the best defensive player in baseball history. (Of course, his big whack in 1960 will endear him to me forever.) The bias the Hall has against selecting guys for defense alone will likely forever keep Nettles out.

As I stated here in another thread the other day, I've long felt Bert Blyleven is the best MLB player not in the hall and I'd add that El Tiante is a close second.

2005-12-16 11:14:38
11.   debris
I'll also add that, as much as I loved him when he was pounding the ball in Flatbush, I've never thought Gil Hodges deserved to be in the Hall. That said, if defense were given greater credence, both Hodges and Carl Furillo deserve consideration. Both were great hitters, neither of HOF caliber, but both were also outstanding with the glove.

Furillo had one of the half dozen greatest outfield arms in history.

2005-12-16 11:17:43
12.   Ben
The hall is even more confusing to me than the MVP award. I'm torn about wether I think it should be easier to get in, or a lot harder. I tend to think, a lot harder, ideally speaking I mean, I know it wouldn't be fair. But to me, aHOF'er is someone that was better than really realy good, it was someone that transended the game during his career. Fewer candidates, but easier selection.
2005-12-16 11:21:22
13.   Alex Belth
Of the guys not in the Hall, I'd say the only four I feel have been jobbed are Blyeleven, Santo, Gossage and Minoso (for more than his numbers I go with Minnie because of his status as a pioneer on the Larry Doby level). Arguments can be made for other guys like Trammell, Dawson, et al. but those are the four guys I'd put in first.
2005-12-16 11:25:14
14.   Shawn Clap
I don't think that was his sole moment. He led 3 different teams to World Series Championships and was just a winner. And like Kirk Gibson he just made his team better. (sans '91 K.C. for Gibson- ugh!)

I guess my point is: most of the voters this year never covered Goose Gossage, how can they give him an honest vote? They use stats. So maybe The Hall of Fame should change it's name to the Bureau of Stats and we'll just let accountants decide who gets in!

2005-12-16 11:45:22
15.   Cliff Corcoran
Shawn, I think Morris is massively overrated. Not to say he wasn't a very valuable pitcher, but would you put Andy Pettitte in the Hall of Fame? Andy's won a ton of games and won some huge postseason starts. Morris, like Pettitte, benefited from being a good pitcher on some very strong teams which provided him with the opportunity to excel. Not that he didn't seize that opportunity, but day-in and day-out he simply wasn't a Hall of Fame-quality pitcher.

It's worth noting that the inverse of that is why Blyleven is still on the outside looking in.

Meanwhile, I'm absolutely convinced that Graig Nettles was everybit as good as Brooks Robinson. However, while Brooks is considered an inner circle HOFer and Nettles never really got close, I think the proper place for both of them is right on the cusp (though given the dearth of 3Bs in the Hall, I'd put them both in). Of course, I'd put Santo and Stan Hack in the Hall first.

Great article, Alex. Nice to see that SI hasn't cramped your style. Dig the mug shot too, tough guy.

2005-12-16 12:04:37
16.   Shawn Clap
Maybe it's just the era I first really got into the game. Because in the mid-80s I worried about Frank Viola coming to town, not Bert Blyleven.

I guess I never saw Blyleven in his hey-day to get all hot and bothered by him.

2005-12-16 13:03:17
17.   Rich Lederer
Great article, Alex. You'll be writing for SI, the mag, before we know it. Congrats!

FWIW, Blyleven was 5-1 in postseason play (not 4-1 as mentioned in comment #5 above). It's only one win, but, based on the results of the voters thus far, it seems as if Bert needs 'em all.

Good list. We can all nitpick here and there, but isn't that the fun of it all?

2005-12-16 14:14:39
18.   singledd
Topic switch: I think we have our CF'er and leadoff guy for 2007.
2005-12-16 16:31:28
19.   Adam B
Great article, Alex. I'm happy to see that your writing is starting to pay off. And I'm happy that you're still writing here, as well.
2005-12-16 16:49:31
20.   mhmitch
Enjoyed the article. Was wondering why Lyle had to settle for being a lefty setup guy though. From '72-'77 he was about as good a closer as anyone in the game during that time. I can only think of Rollie Fingers and Tug McGraw who qualify as others who were as consistently good or better (Gossage still hadn't found his niche until about '77). Perhaps, he was a setup man in the sense that in those days the closers were often the setup guys for themselves!
2005-12-17 15:12:55
22.   claybeez
Glad to see so much love for Nettles. He was my favorite player when I was a kid. Heck, he still is. When I finally get my first dog, I long ago decided it'd be called Nettles.

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